Singing forest bred blues: an interview with Electric Woodland

Electric Woodland

    Weaving an inescapable and thrilling lure of blues, heavy metal, and classic rock into something organically unique, Norwegian rock band Electric Woodland has been earning eager attention and acclaim through their stunning debut album Potrero. It is a rigorously tantalising encounter which seduces the passions through its skilful infectiousness and riveting old school bred and modern fuelled enterprise. The quartet is making rich marks with their sound and now release so we had to find out more. Thanks to guitarist Christian N. Olsen-Ruud, we explored the origins of Electric Woodland, the making of its first full-length release, opportunities for band in their homeland and much more…

Hi Christian and welcome to the site. Thank you for sharing your time with us as we explore all things Electric Woodland.

Firstly can you tell us about the beginnings of the band, how you all met etc.?

Well, Peder (vocals, guitar) and Emil (drums) are brothers, and Marius (bass) is their cousin, so they didn’t have much of a choice. I (Christian, guitar) first got to know Peder when we both went to the same secondary school and started hanging out. The band started when a mutual friend had built a porch, and asked Peder and I if we wanted to bring a couple of acoustic guitars over and break it in. All of a sudden people started to say that they wanted to come as well, and before we knew it, we had 150 people who were going to show up. We built a stage, Marius and Emil joined, and since every festival around seemed to have closed, we started both the band and a festival called Runerock (Rune is the name of the guy with the porch).

How did the great band name come about?

We come from a place called Skogbygda, which sort of translates to Woodville or Wood village. Growing up in rural Norway and Skogbygda has had a great impact on us, so I guess we wanted to give it a little homage. The other half of the name is from one of our other passions, classic rock, blues rock, and one of the great masters, Jimi Hendrix. As well as giving homage to Skogbygda, we thought that mixing Electric Ladyland in there would sort of define what we wanted to do. Down to earth hard blues rock from the Norwegian forests.

Is Electric Woodland the first musical endeavour for you all?

We’ve all had more or less serious bands before, but Electric Woodland is the first band where we’ve really worked with song writing and recording in the way that we’ve done now. The EP was also the first real studio work we’ve done, but luckily we’ve had great people working with us for both the EP and the album, who have helped us out a lot.

Your music is boldly flavoursome with numerous essences of different styles adding to the mix. What are the predominant inspirations for the band and you as musicians?

As you say, our inspirations are many, and it’s a mix of everything from Robert Johnson, through 70s classic rock, to newer stuff like Queens of the Stone Age. In essence it’s a mix of everything we’ve loved when we grew up. When we get asked about this we usually go with the big bands that everyone knows like Queens of the Stone Age, The Doors, Deep Purple, etc., but our biggest influence over the last couple years has probably been a local artist called Amund Maarud. He’s not only helped us out a lot while recording and through Snaxville records, but he’s got a lot of the same influences as us and blends them together into some really cool stuff.

You recently released your debut album Potrero which follows your well received self-titled EP of 2009. How do you see the progression in your sound and songwriting between the two releases?Electric Woodland cover

The four songs on the EP were basically the first four songs we wrote as a band. When it came to Potrero, we wanted to use a bit more time to develop our own sound. While both have a lot of the same influences, Potrero is a bit darker, and both a bit more bluesy and heavy at times.

The album feels a confident and mature collection of songs but with plenty of potential for even greater heights; is that how you feel about it now it is out there drawing in acclaim and new hearts?

Definitely… Although we started to experiment with our own sound on Potrero, it was still only our second recording ever. I do feel we are gaining momentum as song writers and as a band. After recording Potrero, we kind of know more of what we enjoyed recording and what we enjoy playing, so the next album will hopefully reflect that and show some more progression.

Tell us about the recording of Potrero, I believe it was recorded onto analogue tape?

We recorded it at Snaxville Studios in Skogbygda, with the help of Amund and Henrik Maarud. It’s a top, modern studio, but they record everything on analogue tape before any modern technology touches it. We did it in a couple of sessions with some time in between, so that we could think about what we had done and do adjustments in the song writing for the remaining songs if they needed it.

What was behind the decision which it has to be said works a treat in defining the album’s sound.

Again, a lot of our inspiration comes from old blues artists and 60s and 70s rock, so to get that genuine dirty and gritty old school sound, this was what we had to do. The general feeling of recording on tape just felt right as well. You don’t get a million takes when recording on tape, and I think that is a good thing. Each take gets more focused. In a way, it’s also what you always imagined a studio to be. Not just plugging the instruments into a laptop and there’s your album, but you get the whole studio ritual that gets you ‘in the zone’.

Did you go old school/vintage in other aspects of the recording and creating of the album?

A lot of the equipment we use is either vintage or new but made to sound vintage. Some of the pedals we use are clones of old legendary pedals that people like Hendrix, Gilmour and Iommi used, and that’s sort of where we want to go. In addition, a lot of the other equipment in the studio was vintage, form old 70s tape delays to microphones that were used by the BBC in the 60s and 70s.

Is this something you will look to do again or have you already new ideas to explore with the next release?

I think it is important to try to evolve the sound in some way, but in our case it will probably be to try to dive even deeper into that way of working. We really enjoyed it, and really like that type of sound as well. We just need to push it one step further.

There is a raw and gritty texture to the songs on the album, was this deliberately sought or an organic success which just happened?

It was definitely on purpose. We listened to different stuff before recording, and decided that this was what we wanted to do. It’s the sound that we felt the songs needed.

How does the songwriting work within the band?

Usually Peder does most of the writing. He often comes to rehearsals with riffs and lyrics, and we arrange it together into finished songs. Peder and Emil tries out a lot of stuff when they’re both home as well (we rehearse in their old hen house!).

Bad Shoe and the song Electric Woodland steal top honours on the album for us amongst only great tracks. Give us some background to the pair.

They’re two very different songs that’s for sure. Bad Shoe is a rather happy-go-lucky, straight forward, feel good song, where Peder wrote most of it and just brought it to a rehearsal. Electric Woodland is a lot grittier and heavier, and a lot more jam based. It is also without a doubt the song that has evolved the most of all our songs. Some of it was actually some of the first material we produced, and it was almost on the EP as a very straight forward rock song. We started working on it as a band, and suddenly we had new riffs, parts and vocals that took it in a completely different direction.

Is there a particular moment on the album which gives you an extra satisfied tingle inside?

One of the things I’m most pleased with in the response to the album is that everyone seems to have a different favourite song on it. I think that Electric Woodland is probably my pick of the bunch. It’s one of my favourite songs to play live, and the way we just jammed to make it into what it became was a great moment for us as a band. It also has great energy.

Electric Woodland 2Obviously Norway is your home, a place where different music seems to find a place but black metal and folk based styles seem to be what people most assign to the country. What is the reality as a band from there and have you found a ready appetite there for your blues seeded sounds?

There’s a lot of melancholic music in Norway. Maybe it’s the long, depressing winters, but if it’s pop, rock, blues or black metal, there’s often a hint of melancholy in there somewhere. It’s certainly true for Norwegian folk music and black metal, and of course, for blues as well. A lot of people also like a bit of rock and classic rock, so I think we fit in nicely!

We get the feeling that across Europe and now starting in the UK recognition and attention is awakening to your presence, how are you seeing this now Potrero is out?

We do feel we’re starting to build up steam. You feel that gradually things are beginning to move, with an interview here and there, some radio plays here and there, gigs at a bit bigger venues, etc. We’re in this band because we love creating and playing music, but getting some recognition and that people enjoy what you do feels great. It’s something we spent a lot of time and effort on, and take a lot of pride in, so that people don’t think it’s just bullshit really helps!

Is Electric Woodland an active live proposition at home and what are the prospects of seeing you tour across Europe and the UK at some point?

We’ve been a bit unlucky with some health issues in the band this year, so we haven’t been able to do as much as we’ve wanted to, but we’ve still managed to get quite a few gigs under the belt. All of us have other jobs, so we try to do a gig whenever we find the time. We hope to do a bit more though, and a tour of the UK and Europe would be great at some point. So tell your local promoter!

For all bands the internet has been full of pros and cons for their musical journey, how have you found it so far?

When four guys can sit and play what can be pretty introvert music, in a forest in the middle of nowhere in Norway, and suddenly have about 200 fans on Facebook from India, you see what a powerful marketing tool the internet can be. It also makes everything so much easier and gives you so many more options when it comes to producing and publishing records. Bands no longer need a record label’s financial backing to be able to produce something, which can mean that you get a bigger variety of bands out there for people to listen to. You get music in all shapes in all shapes and forms, which can be both good and bad, I guess.

What is next for Electric Woodland and across the rest of 2014?

Hopefully, we’ll get the time to write some more music. We’ve got a couple rough drafts of songs for the second album that we want to keep working on, as well as doing a few more gigs this year.

Thanks again for taking time to chat with us.

Any last words you would like to leave us with?

If you get the chance, check us out on Spotify, give us a like on Facebook, and tell us what you think!

And lastly putting yourself in the place of an interviewer what question would you most like to ask to who?

Black Sabbath and the question would be if they needed an opening act!

www.electricwoodland.com

Read our review of Potrero @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/electric-woodland-potrero/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 25/09/2014

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Nethermost – Noetic

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Transporting the listener down into the depths of depressive yet intoxicatingly emotional and epic landscapes, Noetic is a strikingly compelling entrance from US metallers Nethermost. Released via Horror Pain Gore Death, the band’s debut album is like an inventive soul stealing nightmare where you feel you should maybe make a struggle to awaken from but really want to immerse deeper into its pestilential embrace. A thick fusion of melodic death and doom metal, the release simultaneously manages to be a bruising and sonically seductive devourer of the senses. It does not leap out as much as some similarly sculpted releases but definitely lingers for a just as rewarding success.

The successor to the Texas band’s first release, the four-track Alpha, their new album engrosses ears and imagination from start to finish. Admittedly passions ebbed and flowed at times across its nine imposing songs but never rested on less than enthused appetite for the erosive incitements on offer. Mixed and mastered by Marco Santini at Antigravity Studios in London, Noetic needs little time to involve imagination and emotions in its presence, the opening of Matrix Divine a tantalising coaxing of expressive guitar. That lure continues as the song expels a caustic energy and breath, the vocals of John Johnston raw and impassioned making an instant mark whilst the sinew driven beats of Edgar Pinto take a firm hand of the senses. The song is more a smouldering than a fire but with the craft of lead guitarist Cinthya Rocha and rhythm guitarist Waldo Rocha spinning a melodic web within a rugged nest of riffs it never releases its captivating grip.

The strong start moves onto Weald Realms, a similarly structured weave of hostile intensity aligned to persistent grooves and sonic temptation which swiftly draws willing submission with their unrelenting persuasion. The track is a transfixing encounter, the vocal buffeting lying easily with the acidic melodies that vein the almost toxic emprise at work. Thoughts of bands like Daylight Dies and Anathema offer themselves during song and album, but only as flavours in something emerging individual to Nethermost, as shown again with The Void Of Souls. Opening with a sultry groove which would not be out of place in any album from The Mission, the track twists and flirts with an exotic lilt to its melodies, which alone ignites ears, and a prowling intensity to its heart. It is a superb track, a fall through a cavernous yet spellbinding climate into an emotional examination.

The pair of Nous Alliance and Synergos keeps the impressive presence of the album high, if without quite matching their predecessors. The first is a heavier predatory offering but bound in enticing of sonic enterprise and slow searing grooves whilst the second takes the other route with a lighter melodic flaming within imposing shadows. Both though reveal more of the creative tenacity of the band and individuals, the guitars unafraid to make swift turns in their adventurous suasion whilst rhythms equally are able to fluidly switch their attack through the changing terrain of songs. It is only the vocal squalls of Johnston which show little want to expand but to be honest if he did tracks would relinquish their essential ferocity and potency.

If there is any issue to offer up against the album it is the familiarity between some of the melodic and sonic designs, Arcanum coming straight after Synergos and without attention the two merge together with little notice. It is not a major issue here, such the impressive nature of those tracks, but ahead there is hope for stronger distinction between songs. The muscular stroll of Sphere Caliginous ensures it does immediately leap out from the previous encounter, riffs and rhythms laying down a ravenous and intimidating scene for the guitars to colour with their ever provocative hues.

The short and outstanding instrument I Envision seduces ears and imagination next, its gentle stroll basking in the enterprising scenery and beauty of guitar strings and keys. Thoroughly mesmeric, the piece makes way for Order Of Mithra to bring the album to a fine end. Managing to be the most malevolent proposition on Noetic but holding a flaming melodic radiance, the track ensures ears and thoughts leave the album heavily drenched in the creative invention and immersive atmosphere which makes the band’s debut very easy to enthusiastically recommend. There is still plenty of potential within Nethermost which you feel is still to be unleashed and listening to the quality of Noetic that is an exciting thought for sure.

Noetic is available now via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions now @ http://netherdoom.bandcamp.com/album/noetic

https://www.facebook.com/nethermostband

RingMaster 25/09/2014

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Radium Valley – Tales From The Apocalypse

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Standing impressively tall with an album and sound which plays like a mix of Rammstein, Poets Of the Fall, and Type O Negative yet emerges as something richly flavoursome in its originality; French metallers Radium Valley provide a seriously compelling and fascinating proposition. Debut album Tales From The Apocalypse is a full immersion for ears and imagination into an apocalyptic lyrical and emotional landscape coloured by a tempestuous yet fluid blend of industrial, gothic, and melodic metal. It is a masterful darkwave fuelled incitement which just grows and flourishes the more time and attention it is given.

Formed in 2012, the Limoges hailing band takes inspirations from the likes of Rammstein, Paradise Lost, Ghost Brigade, and Katatonia into their sound, as well as lyrically for certainly their first full-length an eighties background embracing its current events and culture. The combination paints a wasted world stopped by the Chernobyl disaster and littered with radiation embraced survivors. It makes for a vivid and intriguing canvas to which Radium Valley casts similarly dark and turbulent sounds. Produced by Alexandre Granvaud and Romain Janvier, with its mastering done by Logan Mader (Machine Head, Soulfly, Fear Factory, Gojira), the Pavement Entertainment released Tales From The Apocalypse is a riveting and often haunting proposition.

The nine-strong band instantly awakens the imagination with Song of rain, a vintage sample discussing the first nuclear bomb luring in attention against a sonic croon and distortion kissed ambience. It is not long before the musical weight and prowess of the band is seizing ears, melodies from guitars and keys laying down thick enticing smog which is littered with jabbing beats and dark throated bass temptation. A slight relaxation then brings in the impressive vocals and further expressive hues from the keys, their electro seeding a dulled yet mesmeric radiance in the imposing heart of the song. It is a seamless and impressive mix of textures, dark and light extremes as enthralling as the dramatic narrative presented by the increasingly impressing clean vocal delivery.

As the album proves itself to be, the opener seems to get bigger and better with time, something emulated by the following Sweet infection. The second song emerges from a cyber-sculpted darkness with melancholic keys which equally image003have a bold statement to their presence, before flowing into an electronic glaze and synth rock infectiousness. Finding a presence which is somewhere between Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, and Poets Of The Fall, the song soars over the senses with a sultry caress and fiery temperament. It is a bewitching song which seduces more than grips but to the same successful end before the Numan-esque start of For all of us takes over. Raw abrasing riffs stand perfectly against the electronic sizzle of the synths whilst vocals once more gently but powerfully spark thoughts with their theme. There is rich drama to the song which comes in waves without ever departing, the strikes of guitar and inventive bass designs alongside them creating much of that gripping lure.

Both Darkest hours and Behind me create their own slice of intimidating but welcoming persuasion, the first an almost brawling proposition which switches between urgent rampages and slower crawls of predation without losing any of its fluency, despite the turbulence of sound and passions explored. It is an intrusive treat of a track allowing no rest to take in the sights yet leaves no sense of dissatisfaction, just hunger to go back to explore more. Its successor merges electro elegance with a voracious metal appetite to produce a captivating adventure calling on sparks of Rammstein, Fear Factory, and Paradise Lost. There is also a seeming intimacy to the touch and heart of the song which only fires up the vocals and rhythmic punch of its striking exploration.

Next comes Le terrain vague à l’âme, the first of two interludes with the second, Une charogne coming before the final track. With each being predominantly a French spoken vocal piece they do not really add much for us language handicapped souls so it is hard to evaluate their presence, something much easier to do with the excellent instrumental Radium Valley. It is a rigorously descriptive piece of composing which takes the imagination through its provocative soundscape into a rugged and violently hued terrain, the skills of the band providing a threatening and contagious journey.

Through the melodic tempest of Into the undergrounds and the hostile yet theatrical Last resort, the album ventures into new aspects of its starkly bred and adventurously expressive character. Each provides a memorable creative emprise, darkly poetic proposals which leave a lingering and inviting mark on emotions. Their unique offerings lead, after the other interlude, into album closer Wings of disease. It is possibly the least gripping track on the album but still a thoroughly engaging and unpredictable pleasure with the band no less impressive in sculpting its structure and temptation.

It completes an outstanding release in Tales From The Apocalypse, an album needing time to truly show its depths but rewarding with a blistering and exciting encounter. Radium Valley is a band destined to grab your attention at some point and their debut album definitely makes a potent suggestion that the time is now.

Tales From The Apocalypse is available now on CD via Pavement Entertainment and in a slimmer digital version via http://radiumvalley.bandcamp.com/album/tales-from-the-apocalypse

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Radium-Valley/167565643399615

RingMaster 25/09/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Madrost – Into The Aquatic Sector

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Once past the annoyance of the vocal squeal which instantly ignited the hostility of personal taste at the start of the second track of Into The Aquatic Sector, the new album from US death thrashers Madrost only provided one deeply satisfying and enjoyable rampage. Thirty minutes or so of raw and contagious pleasure the album buffeted, antagonised, and most of all thrilled ears and emotions through its eight inventively angry slabs of extreme metal hostility. It is not arguably ground breaking stuff but it is the making of a long-term attachment to a band bringing a freshness and devilry to the thrash scene.

Based in Lake Forest, California, Madrost formed in 2007 and was soon an attention grabbing force in the metal underground scene around Los Angeles and Orange County. A trio of demos across 2008 to 2010 alongside the band’s live presence reinforced their emergence before the Infected Chaos EP of 2011 and especially the well-received debut album Maleficent a year later, pushed the band to wider recognition. Now they look towards the wider world with Into the Aquatic Sector and such its accomplished tempestuous ideation and sound it is hard not to see it making a noticeable mark in the global metal scene.

A brief atmospheric instrumental opens up the album, The Unknown, a sinister melodic coaxing which initially seems at odds with what is to follow but in hindsight works quite well with its portentous hint at the more progressive essences blossoming in later tracks. The suggestive piece makes way for the instantly rousing attack of Frozen Beneath The Snow. Within seconds riffs are gnawing the senses and punchy rhythms challenging ears, the heavyweight incitement not startling but definitely anthemic in its lead. That earlier mentioned vocal piercing leaves an unwanted shudder, but again just down to personal preferences, before the track twists and flirts with the imagination through spicy grooves, unrelenting riffs, and the great brawling vocal scowling of vocalist/guitarist Tanner Poppitt. There is a fury to the heart of the song which finds release through the incessant and varied guitar hostility of Poppitt and Alejandro Pelaez, and most potently the crushing beats of Cesar Escobar. Just as potently a melodic weave also adds its invention to seemingly not temper but inflame the anger of the song further.Madrost into the aquatic sector 002

It is a great full entrance into the album matched right away by Universal Energy. From its first breath within a hellacious rhythmic battering, the guitars spin a progressive kissed melodic enticement before joining the savage intent of the track. The bass of Richard Orellana grumbles and incites just as imposingly as the skilled enterprise of the guitars and drums, again hostile and seductive tendencies finding a union to impress and thrill. Apart from more sonic vocal expulsions, the song hits the spot leaving neck muscles and senses happily throbbing before passing the album’s ferocity over to Operation: Xenomorphic Protocol. Entwining moments of unbridled assault and stalking predation, the song transfixes through the imaginative aural sculpting of the guitars. At the start we said the album was not setting new templates but there are times as in this riveting proposition where Madrost cast something uniquely fresh and compelling.

   The Oceanic Prelude is another instrumental to allow a catch of breath, forty two seconds of melodic beauty reinforcing the impressive craft of the guitarists and songwriting in the album. It sets the imagination up nicely for the following savagery of Subterranean Nightmare, its first touch a maelstrom of concussive beats and scarring riffs. The short piece also marks where Into The Aquatic Sector leaps to another plateau, its successor an exhilarating fusion of heavy and thrash metal ferociousness aligned to more progressive ingenuity. There is even a great passage of jazzy enterprise from the bass of Orellana to leave a wider satisfied grin on the passions.

Its masterful success is matched and surpassed by the final pair of songs. The title track is a tempest of sound and creative devilry from the first rhythmic slap and sonic violation. Twisting with dervish skill and flirting with the imagination through its fiery genre fusing invention, the track is still a trash driven ravaging of the senses but unafraid to slip into something more melodically comfortable to spark rich intrigue and fascination. The closing Depravity is a more malevolent beast, driving for the jugular with raw riffs and violent rhythms not forgetting spite blessed vocals. It belies its viciousness though by a contagious swing to its grooves and infectious devilry to its melodic endeavour. The result is a seriously addictive and bruising stomp which thrills body and soul as it rips through them with sonic animosity and rhythmic brutality.

It is a glorious end to an outstanding album which with each listen does make you re-equate its originality. That aspect can be debated but what cannot be denied is that Into The Aquatic Sector is an exciting beast of an album and Madrost a band with all the potential to ignite extreme metal ahead.

The self-released Into The Aquatic Sector is available digitally and on CD now via CD Baby, Amazon, and i-Tunes.

https://www.facebook.com/madrost

RingMaster 25/09/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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